Ask the Author: Wendy Lee
“I'm happy to answer questions about my novels, my writing process, the writer's life, and publishing from a former book editor's perspective.” Wendy Lee
Answered Questions (4)
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Wendy Lee For ACROSS A GREEN OCEAN, I wanted to write about a character who wasn't so much like me--which turned out to be Michael, the son of the family in the book. Then I wondered what if Michael found out something about his father that would prompt him to go to China. That led me to set part of the book in Qinghai Province, which is located in northwestern China, and a place that I don’t think has been written about a lot. It’s very special to me, as I spent my first year out of college teaching English there. I also wove into that storyline a little of my family history, as I have a great-uncle who was sent to Qinghai Province for reeducation by labor in the 1950s. I wanted to portray China in its current, modern form as well as its turbulent past.
Wendy Lee I’ll repeat a piece of advice someone else gave me, which is to “work hard.” I know that sounds simple, but the hardest thing for a writer is to feel validated, especially by themselves. I think aspiring writers should treat their writing like a job, and work as hard at it as if it were a second job. Set aside time for it and refuse to let other people intrude into this time. If you don’t take your work seriously, no one else will.
Wendy Lee I think the best thing about being a writer is receiving an email or being told by someone who's a complete stranger that your book resonated with them. It's a special connection with another person that otherwise wouldn't have been formed, and it's formed completely from words.
Wendy Lee I don't know if I get writer's block exactly, but I do have that very familiar writer's condition where you have characters, plot points, and lines of dialogue in your head that you find impossible to put down on paper. I haven't really found a way to deal with that yet other than to accept that nothing sounds as good in real life as when you imagined it.